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The psychology of the neonate: Analysis of sequential-temporal patterns in neonatal behaviour

  • Start date: 01 November 2012
  • End date: 30 April 2014

The main aims of this proposed research are to develop and apply methodologies to investigate neonatal behavioural responses to social and non-social situations, and to identify the characteristic temporal sequential patterns of the neonates’ responses. In broader terms, the aim is to map the socio-emotional behavioural characteristics of the neonate.

The proposed project addresses the aim by secondary analysis of two datasets with neonatal infants collected on projects RES-000-22-1887 and RES-062-23-1779 funded by the ESRC.

The behavioural analytic methods (including descriptive and sequential/lag analysis) that the proposal aims to employ on the dataset will help to describe neonates’ behaviour and how neonates’ responses to social situations evolve over time. Such an approach could be a major advancement in understanding the behavioural data from neonates and young infants and facilitate the emergence of ‘neonatal psychology’.

The fine-grained description of the patterns of neonatal behaviour will hopefully transform our understanding of the neonate and the neonatal stage of development and the results hopefully will facilitate interdisciplinary efforts towards training and prevention programs and increase awareness towards sensitive parenting from as early on as the birth of a child.